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Back to the Wall

Nicholas Penny

21 September 1995
In Perfect Harmony: Picture and Frame 1850-1920 
edited by Eva Mendgen.
Reaktion, 278 pp., £45, May 1995, 90 400 9729 1
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... It is often assumed that easel pictures have always hung on walls, but in fact the backs of many small Renaissance panel paintings, both sacred and secular, were decorated, suggesting that they were designed to be handled as well as hung, and many portraits had lids so that their frames formed the sides of boxes in which the pictures could be safely stored, as well as making handy and attractive borders ...

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